A drywall installer who suffered a severe spinal injury after falling through a hole in a residential construction project obtained a $5 million settlement, according to his attorney.
Brett Coppage of Edelman & Thompson in Kansas City said the accident occurred on Dec. 6, 2018, when the plaintiff was lifting sheets of drywall laid on the floor. Unbeknownst to him, a hole had been cut in the subfloor so that drywall could be delivered into the basement. He fell through and sustained a burst fracture in the lower thoracic portion of his spine, leaving him partially paralyzed.
The developer of the project had installed a barrier in front of the hole, but it was later removed and sheets of drywall were laid on the floor to cover it, though who was responsible for those changes was disputed.
Coppage said the suit was resolved with a $1 million payment from the developer and $4 million from the drywall delivery company. Chris Rackers of Schreimann, Rackers & Francka, an attorney for the drywall delivery company, confirmed details of the settlement.
RELATED: Click to search for and submit your Verdicts & Settlements
$5 million settlement
Venue: Jackson County Circuit Court at Independence
Case Number/Date: Confidential/Feb. 14, 2023
Injuries: T12 compression burst fracture that was surgically compressed with instrumentation and fusion spanning T10 to L2, with incomplete paraplegia in both lower extremities and neurogenic bladder
Plaintiff’s Experts: Frank Morris, Tri-State Consultants (construction code consultant); Terry Corday (vocational); Dr. Roger Huckfeldt (life care planning); Kurt Krueger (economics)
Defendants’ Expert: Jim Lambie (construction code consultant)
Plaintiff’s Attorney: Brett Coppage, Edelman & Thompson, Kansas City
Defendants’ Attorneys: Chris Rackers, Schreimann, Rackers & Francka, Jefferson City (for drywall delivery company); Patrick Hunt, Baty Otto Coronado Scheer, Kansas City (for developer)